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ruler for random access memory
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Types of Computer Memory and Common Uses

RAM commonly known as "memory" is an acronym for Random Access Memory.

People sometimes confuse "memory" with the "Hard Disk" (a magnetic disk used for storing the operating system, programs, data etc.)-- current hard disks store information known as gigabytes GB.

The amount of memory in the computer is crucial in that it determines how many programs can be running, and how much data is available for each program. Memory is generally available as megabytes or MB. A personal computer with a minimal amount of memory (16MB), Windows 98, and an Internet browser will perform very slow.

A simple distinction of RAM vs. Hard Disk.
RAM doesn't retain information when the power to your personal computer is turned off. Where as, the Hard Disk does retain information when the power to your personal computer is turned off.

Basically, there are two types of memory available:
  • DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) is a type of memory that is constantly refreshed or will loose its contents.
  • SRAM (Static Random Access Memory) is faster than DRAM and less volatile, but it requires more power and is a little more expensive.
You may also hear memory described as:
  • SIMM (Single In-line Memory Module) is a small circuit board that holds a group of memory chips. SIMMs are easier to install than a single memory chip.
  • DIMM (Dual In-line Memory Module) is a newer technology and used for Pentium microprocessors.

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